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Alex Leapai Wins Return By KO, Hogan Dominates Nonaka

Logan heavyweight boxer Alex 'The Lionheart' Leapai (31-7-3, 25 KOs) finally made his return to the sport after announcing his comeback last year.

Leapai retired in February 2016 following the death of his father and being warned he could go blind if he kept fighting.

He became the first Australian to challenge for the heavyweight world title in 106 years when he fought Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, ultimately losing by knockout inside five rounds.

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"Everything's all sorted out now, my eyes, had an operation on my eyes. My dad's in a good place now and it's just about time, it's time to unleash the beast," Leapai said. "I got a few offers overseas. We want to train hard, we want to win a world title and bring it home for Logan and Australia."

Back in February 2016 the 36-year-old told the ABC: "I'm finished, I'm gone. You'll never see 'The Lionheart' in the ring again."

Leapai had walked away after losing three in a row - to Manuel Charr, Malik Scott and Klitschko.

But he came back on Saturday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane - throwing big power punchers to secure a third round stoppage over Thomas Peato (2-6). It was Leapai's first victory since November 2013 when he upset Denis Boytsov in a WBO world title eliminator.

Also on the card in a WBO junior middleweight eliminator, Dennis Hogan (26-1-1, 7 KOs) won a dominating ten round unanimous decision over Yuki Nonaka (31-8-3, 10 KOs) of Japan.

It was Nonaka's first defeat since 2009, but also his first bout outside of Japan.

Hogan boxed his way to dominant scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91.

The current WBO junior middleweight champion is Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto, who defends the belt against United States Olympian Sadam Ali on December 2 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Cotto is expected to retire after the bout.

“I felt completely in control of the fight and I actually enjoyed it out there,” says Hogan. “I had him at my distance very early on and just felt like every punch I threw landed. I was also able to nullify his left hand, which is his best, and I knew and could see he was crafty and liked to try to intimidate me but I was just on form and decided to play him at his own game and beat him too.

“He knew in the later rounds I was up every round so it was big shots he was trying to land so I felt that made it easier for me to land my combinations and get out of danger.

“All up a good fight and great learning curve for me. Rangy, crafty, experienced southpaws are dangerous and can cause problems but we made a great game plan, done all the work, stuck to it and it made for a very enjoyable fight for me and the crowd!”

It was a dominant performance from Hogan who impressed with fast and accurate combinations to the body and head of his taller opponent. The Japanese veteran was undefeated in eight years going in to the bout.

With the win Hogan has now staked his claim to a shot at the soon-to-be vacant WBO junior middleweight championship currently held by Miguel Cotto.

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican legend and future Hall of Famer has announced plans to hang up his gloves after his December title defence against Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali.

Next month’s rematch between British rivals WBO #2 Liam Williams and WBO #4 Liam Smith is expected to decide who will be in one corner fighting for the vacant world title in 2018.

The 32-year-old Australian-based Irishman is trained by Glenn Rushton at the Stretton Boxing Club alongside WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn who claimed the world title from global superstar Manny Pacquiao in July.

The only loss on Hogan’s ledger came against Jack Cuclay for the interim WBA junior middleweight title in Germany in December 2015.

 Former world number six super middleweight Rohan Murdock 20-1 (15 KOs) needed just three rounds to stop his Tanzanian opponent Said Mbelwa 43-25-5 (28 KOs) in a scheduled eight rounder.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by robbyheartbaby on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=Pusnuts;18135688]How does this scrub get a headline? I'm not in the habit of calling fighters that but it's apt in this case. He's got a soft chin for a Samoan too. He's awful, not close to top 30, likes of…

Comment by Pusnuts on 10-14-2017

How does this scrub get a headline? I'm not in the habit of calling fighters that but it's apt in this case. He's got a soft chin for a Samoan too. He's awful, not close to top 30, likes of…

Comment by BigZ44 on 10-14-2017

The beast is back!! Lionheart Leapai putting the HW divison on notice. Joshua, Wilder, Ortiz, Povetkin, Parker, Browne, nobody is safe!

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
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